If you're like us, your always looking for new zero waste tips. So we put together a list that includes all of the ways that you can waste less during the holidays, a time when an average household's waste increases by 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills (Source: EPA).
- Instead of buying wrapping paper, use newspapers, like the Sunday comics. Here are some other eco friendly gift wrapping ideas.
- Instead of cutting down a Christmas tree, or using a plastic tree, give a potted tree a brief (4-7 day) indoor holiday before being planted in your backyard. Another option is to decorate an indoor plant that you already have!
- Buy decorations at a second-hand store, swap with friends or neighbors, or use organic products like pine cones for decorations. Donate any working but unwanted decorations for reuse.
- Use energy efficient (LED) lighting.
- If your old holiday lights no longer work, recycle them. If your community doesn't have a seasonal recycling program, you can always mail them in with no recycling fee.
- Give the gift of experiences instead of material goods - such as outings, time, favors, memberships, or donations to a non-profit in honor of a friend or family.
- You can also make a donation to CAW on behalf of another person - it's easy, there's no wrapping or waste involved, and it’s tax-deductible!
- Make your own upcycled or DIY gifts. Whether it’s traditional food, a thoughtfully homemade decoration, or a photo album, you can guarantee that your gift will truly be appreciated.
- Consider electronic holiday cards and invitations. Make your own or use a website for help. You can even add a personal photograph to e-cards. Check out some free e-card websites here.
Before You Buy
- Support your local economy by buying from local small businesses, craft shows or antique/thrift stores.
- Look for high-quality and long lasting items made from recycled content, repurposed and/ or sustainable materials, and avoid heavily packaged gifts.
- Consider the end-of-life disposal option for the product - is the item recyclable? Safe for disposal? Does the product manufacturer or a retailer offer take back of their items?
- If you plan to purchase electronics, take a look at Greenpeace or Electronics Take Back Coalition's 'report card' on sustainable electronic product.
Other Things to Remember
- Remember to bring your reusable bags to the store when you're shopping. Keep them in a visible location in your car so you don't forget.
- Consolidate shopping trips and carpool to holiday celebrations to reduce your gasoline consumption.
- If you are having guests over be sure to serve food and drinks on reusable plates, utensils, and glasses rather than disposable items.
- Cut food waste by planning meals wisely, composting food scraps, freezing leftovers, and asking guests to bring Tupperware to take home extra food.
- After the holiday season, make sure you donate, sell or recycle outdated or unwanted items to get ready for the New Year.
Happy Holidays from the CAW team!